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Obama Takes Early Leadership Role In Face Of Economic Crisis
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President-elect Barack Obama said Friday that he would make the middle class his first priority when he assumes the presidency in January 2009. In an unprecedented step, Obama held a press conference well before he is inaugurated. He was solemn in his remarks, stating that the United States is facing the "greatest economic challenge of our lifetime."
    President-elect Barack Obama said Friday that he would make the middle class his first priority when he assumes the presidency in January 2009. In an unprecedented step, Obama held a press conference well before he is inaugurated. However, Obama is being held to high standards in his expectations and is already receiving President George W. Bush's daily intelligence briefing. He attempted to temper these expectations, telling reporters that
"the United States has only one government and one President, and until January 20th of next year, that government is the current administration."

Dean Baker, an economist and co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research, says that the prominent press conference could be an attempt by President-elect Barack Obama to "give the appearance that he is taking charge" in the face of the economic crisis.

Keeping in view the October's dismal employment report and the struggling automotive industry Baker quoted that the economy of United States is "really in very very bad shape," and that it "made a lot of sense for (President-Barack Obama) to step forward."

"People are very scared with cause - this is, with the possible exception of 1980 - 1982, this is the sharpest downturn we've had in the postwar period," Baker said.

Looking ahead, Obama pledged to confront the current economic crisis, which has the U.S. economy in what appears to be a deep and possibly prolonged recession, "head-on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families, and restore growth and prosperity."

The press conference was held immediately following a meeting with Obama's Transition Economic Advisory Board, featuring several prominent members from both the private and public sectors on Obama's economic transition board, including billionaire investor Warren Buffett, former Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, and former SEC Chairman William Donaldson.


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